NAEVR Supports Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research Statement on President’s FY2020 Budget: “We Must Maintain the Forward Momentum that Congress Has Driven over the Past Four Years”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 11, 2019
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
[email protected]

NAEVR SUPPORTS AD HOC GROUP FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT’S FY2020 BUDGET: “WE MUST MAINTAIN THE FORWARD MOMENTUM THAT CONGRESS HAS DRIVEN OVER THE PAST FOUR YEARS”

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) supported the statement issued by the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research of which it is a member expressing concern about President Trump's March 11 Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget proposal that would cut National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding by nearly $5 billion and National Eye Institute (NEI) funding by $111 million:

"The President's budget request for the NIH would decimate the nation's longstanding commitment to improving and saving lives through federal support for medical research. The President's proposal to cut funding for the NIH by nearly $5 billion, more than 12 percent below current levels, would undermine progress on research to find treatments and cures for patients nationwide while threatening our narrowing competitive edge in an increasingly innovation-based international marketplace.

Thankfully, despite recent White House budget requests, lawmakers in Congress on both sides of the aisle have rallied together to appropriately boost funding for the NIH. Patient advocates and researchers will once again work with Congress to continue the needed upward trajectory for NIH in FY2020 and reject the proposed misguided funding levels that dismiss the value of biomedical research to the American people. In FY2020, over 300 organizations and institutions in the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research recommend a funding level of at least $41.6 billion for NIH.

In contrast, the President's budget proposal demonstrates the devastating consequences of impractical discretionary spending caps. As Congress has in previous years, we urge lawmakers to enact swiftly a bipartisan budget agreement that raises the discretionary spending caps and enables a robust investment in NIH in FY2020. We must maintain the forward momentum that Congress has driven over the past four years."”

NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky added the following brief statement:

"The President's FY2020 budget proposes to fund the NEI at $686 million, a cut of $111 million or 13.9 percent—to a level at which the NEI was funded in FY2015. The demographics of vision impairment and blindness simply do not support federal funding for vision research moving backwards, as vision loss is a growing public health problem due to the aging of the population, the disproportionate incidence of eye disease in fast-growing minority populations, and the impact on vision of chronic diseases. The United States is facing a $717 billion inflation-adjusted annual cost of vision impairment and eye disease by year 2050, and that projected expense will not be reduced unless there is continued robust funding for the NEI to save sight and restore vision."”

NAEVR joins the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research in urging Congress to fund the NIH in FY2020 at a level of at least $41.6 billion and the NEI at a level of $850 million.

The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a 501(c)4 non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of 55 professional, consumer, and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. Visit the Web site at www.eyeresearch.org.